7 Quick Takes: Thankful Edition

7 Quick Takes

I decided to come back from my hiatus early and let you all know the things for which I am giving thanks this year.

Blah blah blah Amazon links are affiliate ones blah blah blah.

— 1 —

I’m thankful the election is over. Holy polarization, Batman! This election season was functionally 8 years long. The 2012 election bled into the 2016 one… which then bled into this one. I’m also so thankful that the election went in my favor! I have a good governor who has worked tirelessly to protect the people of Washington, and the idiot running against him would have been horrible for the state. I get my amazing Congresscritter again, and let’s not even go into how happy I am that Joe Biden won the election.

You know what’s making me even happier? Not having to deal with the “rolling Trump rally” idiots driving around, creating traffic hazards, and giving me a headache from their honking. I wonder if they even know how much they made people want to vote for Biden instead!

— 2 —

I’m thankful for teachers. Homeschoolng Daniel is my idea of hell, so I’m grateful that someone else is doing the planning while I just have to make sure he stays on task. His teacher, therapists, and aide love him, and they make an absolute effort to try and reach him. I can’t wait until he can go back to school, but I’m happy that we can at least keep his education moving until the vaccine is ready.

— 3 —

I’m thankful that I have a job right now. One of the good things about my job is that it can be done online. Because of this, I was able to work this summer for the first time since Daniel was a baby. Winter Quarter will also be online, so I have job security for the time being.

— 4 —

I’m thankful for businesses that are trying to keep their employees and customers safe. I don’t have the luxury of ignoring the pandemic where I live, so I appreciate that my grocery store is limiting the number of people inside, that my favorite restaurants are on DoorDash or Munchie Dude so food can be delivered, and that other places have curbside pick up for food and retail goods. People in my area have been patient with the restrictions that we currently have, and that made it easier to deal with the line to get in the store on Thanksgiving Eve to pick up Daniel’s meds and a few last-minute things.

— 5 —

I’m thankful for my family. I’ve been stuck in the house with them for eight months, and we haven’t managed to kill each other yet. The grown-ups are also eating together every night, so I think my parents have a better idea of what I do for a living and what I have on my figurative plate because we talk about our days at dinner.

We also were able to have some socially distant porch visits this summer with some extended family. For Thanksgiving, we made dinner-to-go for my bachelor uncle, and he was able to come over and pick it up. (He brought us a pumpkin spice cheesecake from 5b’s Bakery in exchange.)

— 6 —

I’m thankful for my church. We haven’t been able to have in-person worship for eight months, so we’ve done worship over Facebook Live and then Zoom. Granted, I’m the one doing all the tech and web work for it, but people are being patient with tech malfunctions for the most part, and we’ve gotten pretty good at it. Our Vestry is also trying to make sure people get called every week and checked on because it can be lonely and we have an older congregation. Our choir has put together virtual anthems, and we’re working on finding ways to do worship without being allowed to sing. (This is why we can’t sing.) We did a survey of people this summer, and nobody wants to go back to in-person worship until the county hits Phase 4 and there is a vaccine available. We obviously didn’t get to do Easter in-person, and we are making plans for Midnight Mass over Zoom.

— 7 —

I’m thankful for my NOOK. I’ve re-read and gotten caught up on one series of murder mysteries, and I am almost done with the “Witchnapped in Westerham” books.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Morning Tube Feed Edition

7 Quick Takes

I’ve been really busy this week, so I’m grabbing some time this morning while Daniel has his hour-long tube feed this morning before Zoom school There may or may not be Amazon affiliate links because that’s how I roll.

— 1 —

Remote learning update #1. Let me just say that I wish with every fiber of my being that Daniel could go to school and be in a normal classroom environment because that is where he thrives. I wish that coronavirus wasn’t a death sentence for everyone in this house, and I envy all of you who live in a place where COVID is either not deadly, doesn’t exist, or where you can be willfully in denial of its existence. In-person school is an option for Daniel if we want it due to his special needs, but we’ve had cases of COVID spreading in schools in Washington, so we’re having to keep him quarantined. Kiddo is sensory-seeking at the moment, which means he wants to hit me and will make the effort to reach over and do it while working. (Autism is an [expletive] joy.) He’s also in a fake sneezing/coughing and spitting phase at the moment, so I don’t want to be within 10 feet of him, given that I landed in the hospital with pneumonia and sepsis last year from him fake sneezing on me. (Fake sneezing or coughing releases droplets and causes me to douse myself in Germ-X because my isolation room was pretty sucky.) It was so bad yesterday that his paraprofessional told me to move away out of his reach and just let him do what he needed to do. She blessedly sang silly songs and read a story to him so I could get out of arms reach and try to hold myself together so I wouldn’t cry.

Let’s just say that anyone who tells me how wonderful homeschooling is or attempts to tell me how to “fix” things will be dealt with harshly, especially if it’s coming from a parent who has neurotypical kids. My kid is not like yours, and you have no freaking clue what you are talking about. (Comments about an autism/ MMR vaccine link will get you banned because we believe in actual *SCIENCE* on this blog, and we don’t support idiots like Andrew Wakefield or Bob Sears who falsify results or commit gross malfeasance resulting in their medical licenses being pulled.)

— 2 —

Really? I got a survey from the “Trump Make America Great Campaign” yesterday. (I’d like to extend both of my middle fingers to whoever put me on that mailing list. Most people aren’t heinous enough to put someone’s name and address on a political mailing list like that.)

Fear not, y’all! I filled out the survey and gave him lots of “constructive criticism” and suggestions for improvement before letting him and his campaign know that I was making a nice donation to Joe Biden in their honor. I even decorated the envelope! (I usually just recycle the mailings like this that I get from the Democratic campaigns because I get them in email form as well… which I delete because I write enough letters to my Congresscritters.) I even repurposed Trump’s fundraising letter and the outer envelope as charcoal starter. ๐Ÿ˜€

Envelope 1

Envelope 2

Moral of the story: don’t send me junk mail on a day that is making me want to take up cobra-kissing.

— 3 —

Virtual choir. Our bishop is making an Episcopal visit to us on September 27th for baptisms, confirmations, and stuff like that. We’re putting together a virtual choir video of the anthem below, and I got my video portion of it done last night… after 20 takes because I’m unnerved about singing acapella by myself and I’m a severe perfectionist.

— 4 —

Mammogram. I hit the big 4-0 in May and I’m on birth control pills to help with my menopause, so I had to get my first mammogram this year. (I was going to go on my birthday, but COVID happened.) I’ve had people tell me how horrifically painful they are, so I was a little nervous before they started. Yeah, it was seriously a 1 or 2 on the 1-10 pain scale. (I realize that everyone has a different body and a different pain threshold.) My chest was a little tender afterward, but it was *NOTHING* compared to the pain of a pelvic exam/pap smear/pelvic ultrasound for me. (Those are easily a 7 out of 10 for me for reasons I’d prefer not to share for me, and I am incredibly thankful to be done with them permanently.)

Y’all, do your preventative screenings, even if it’s painful. I still did my well-woman exam at all the appropriate intervals, even though it was excruciating. It beats having cancer for sure!

— 5 —

Remote learning update #2. The little monster came up to me when his feed was done and said “school”. That’s progress, I guess?

— 6 —

Smoke. We’re getting smoke from all the fires in the Pacific Northwest. It’s not as bad today as it has been, but I’m not allowed to be outside for more than a few minutes without a respirator. I did a porch visit with family members on Saturday, and I won a few days of breathing treatments because I’m special like that. Woo. We’re supposed to get some thunderstorms today, and I’m hoping that the lightning doesn’t spark any fires.

— 7 —

Argh. I’m on the phone with Social Security currently (a necessary evil), and I have a dentist appointment today where they’ll likely be removing a tooth. Gotta love inhaler and ice-chewing damage!

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Late to Post Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Fatigue. My meds have been off this week, so I have been nauseated, having mood swings, and am achey all over. I haven’t had a fibro flare-up like this in a while, so it has been unpleasant to say the least.

— 2 —

Duolingo. I finished the Arabic skill tree on Duolingo a month or so ago, and I have been fighting to keep my streak going as I return to learning Spanish and reviewing French. I might have to start reviewing Arabic to get my language-learning mojo back so that I can really improve my Spanish. I have no idea why Arabic had me so gung-ho and Spanish doesn’t. Maybe it’s because Spanish is for work and not for me?

— 3 —

Zoom school. Circle time from 9:00-9:30 over Zoom is chaotic enough that I’ve had to bring other work to do downstairs with me and just make sure Daniel doesn’t run away from his school Chromebook. Otherwise, the chaos makes me ponder taking up rattlesnake-cuddling as a hobby. It’s also hard because Daniel is already apraxic and speaks super softly because I think he’s kind of shell-shocked at the intensity of circle time and all the kids talking.

— 4 —

What is working. One of the teachers got Daniel a BoomLearning account, and it has been wonderful. We can share screen on Zoom and work with his paraprofessional that way. He seems to like it, especially the math stuff, and I think it will work out really well for him as he doesn’t want to do workbook stuff.

— 5 —

Wildfires. The entire freaking West Coast is on fire. Smoke is hitting us in Washington, and I am banned by my family from going outside without a respirator on because of my crappy lungs. Woo. Just in case you’re denying climate change, IT’S WHAT IS CAUSING THESE FIRES TO BE SO BAD.

— 6 —

Election. Is anyone else wishing the election was over? Just me?

— 7 —

What is saving me. I’m re-reading all the Cackleberry Club mysteries by Laura Childs. I guess cozy murder mysteries are my catnip?

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Weighing in On The Week Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

On Kamala Harris. When Joe Biden announced his vice-presidential pick was Kamala Harris, I was over the moon. She’s a northern California girl like me, she’s brilliant, and she is well-versed in the law. I had the pleasure of voting for her twice as Attorney General of California, and my last act before moving to Washington was to vote for her in the California Primary election in 2016.

I’ve been getting the “who should Biden pick as VP” emails from various focus groups for months, and I can’t say I’m sad that those emails have stopped… though now I’m getting emails from groups on what the Democratic platform should be. It’s probably a good thing that I use a specific email for all my political stuff so I can delete it all when I don’t have the spoons to deal with it.

— 2 —

This is inexcusable. According to the Seattle Times, Trump says heโ€™s blocking postal funding because Democrats want to expand mail-in voting. Seriously, that’s petty as heck! NPR just updated their story on it to say that Trump is opposing it but will sign a bill including it. Still, it creates the impression that he’s trying to prevent people from being able to vote. The postal situation would also affect a few states like mine where the entire state votes by mail.

The irony here is that Trump and his entire family as well as others in his administration vote by mail regularly.

— 3 —

The payroll tax holiday. I’m not gonna lie… the executive order signed by Donald Trump on Saturday put my stomach in knots to the point that I could barely eat. The reason? I know payroll taxes. It creates a really difficult situation for businesses because those payroll taxes are just deferred until next year, and it is highly doubtful that Congress (the ones who ACTUALLY make the decision on this stuff) will forgive the amount owed.

I have a while until it starts affecting me as the quarter ends this month and Fall Quarter doesn’t start until the middle to end of September, but I’ll have to see if the college is actually going to take the amount out of my check and just hold onto it. If not, I’ll have to calculate out 7.65% of my paycheck and put it aside so that I don’t suddenly have to come up with the money next year.

— 4 —

New doctor. My PCP left in June (and I didn’t find out about it until July), so I had to find a new doctor. My parents like their PCP, so I made an appointment and was finally able to get in with her yesterday. I do like her and she seems amenable to things like me staying on omeprazole despite insurance refusing to cover it after a certain point. (It’s an OTC medication, so I just wanted her permission to stay on it. I’m fine with paying for it as it’s cheap through Costco.) She ordered a ton of labs, and I was really happy to see that my iron is actually in the higher levels of normal for women. (Yay hysterectomy!)

— 5 —

Mask take. I thought this was cute.

Masks are comfortable

— 6 —

School update. I got in touch with Daniel’s teacher this week. She hasn’t had the necessary meetings to tell me a whole lot about what will happen, but she was glad I got communication going. School officially starts the first week of September, so I’ll be getting Daniel used to doing stuff on the iPad with me this week so that things aren’t a complete shock in September.

— 7 —

Some music.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Voting and Other Fun Activities Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Reminder to vote. Some of you might live in states with a primary coming up to decide the ballot for things like House member, senator, governor, etc. All of those positions determine policy both in Washington and in your home state, so please do vote. Your senators confirm judicial nominees and Cabinet positions, for example.

— 2 —

On voting by mail. I received my ballot in the mail today for the August 4 primary because of the entire state of Washington voting by mail. It was a wonderful surprise when I moved up here to find this out, and it is actually an amazing thing. My ballot has a tracking number on it keyed to my name, and I can enter my name in and it will tell me if my ballot has been processed yet. I’ve actually only voted in person a handful of times since I hit voting age 22 years ago, and those are the few times I’ve had problems with my ballots. I’ve never had a problem with my absentee ballot ever in California or Montana, and Washington’s system has been lovely. (I voted in person in Ohio and Minnesota.)

Washington’s REPUBLICAN Secretary of State (emphasis added to show that this not a purely partisan issue with Democrats) wrote an opinion piece on why voting by mail really does work. My only complaint about my ballot this time is that Tim Eyman is listed as a candidate for governor instead of in his own electoral position as State Parasite. (Yes, that was catty. The truth hurts, y’all. Dude is useless and just creates legislation to screw up the state.)

— 3 —

Sweetness. Mom has taken to watching travel videos on YouTube, and Daniel will hang out and watch with her. Currently, they’re watching a Rick Steves one on Budapest. I’ve walked into their room to do things on occasion (they have a printer/scanner and the cats usually hang out in there) and have had to play “figure out the city” a few times.

— 4 —

Duolingo. I decided to get back into language learning during quarantine and have been learning Spanish and Arabic on Duolingo while also reviewing my French. They have a ton of different languages (including Klingon and High Valyrian) and the way they teach seems to work well for me.

— 5 —

Special intention. I have a special intention needing prayer. Please and thank you!

— 6 —

Darn those onion-cutting ninjas! This is beautiful.

— 7 —

/blinks repetitively I walked into the dining room 30 minutes ago to find one of my dad’s shoes on the leg of a dining room chair and encyclopedias stacked on top of the seat. When I found him, my first words were, “what did you break?”

(Part of his shoe was coming loose, so he was gluing it down with shoe goo.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: No Politics Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

4th of July. It was a quiet 4th of July here in terms of family activity. My dad grilled hotdogs, and I got to see quite a few fireworks shows from my bedroom window… because various people on my cross-street and some of the other cul-de-sacs spent HUNDREDS of dollars on fireworks which they set off for probably 3 straight hours from 9:00 p.m. to midnight. Our poor cats were curled up in my mom’s closet because it sounded like we were being shelled. (My town does allow fireworks between certain hours on the 4th of July, but a lot of other towns don’t.)

— 2 —

Back to Work. Summer Quarter started this week, and I’m getting to tutor for the first time ever during the summer because everything is online. I’ve met with all of my students at least once now, and the first-week stuff that always comes up is getting ironed out.

For those who are wondering, we aren’t going to know if we’ll be back on-campus for Fall Quarter until August. I’d prefer to stay online because the COVID risk is still high here, and my family is still locked down really tightly, so I wouldn’t be able to work on campus. I also know that our college president is risk-averse, so I can’t see him putting the student body in danger.

— 3 —

What leadership looks like. We have a new superintendent here in town and this was what his second day on the job looked like.

I think he’ll be great for the district if taking food, school work, and masks to migrant students is what he does on the second day he is in charge.

— 4 —

Bujo Instagram account. I have a new Instagram account for my bullet journal (bujo). I haven’t done a huge amount with it yet, but will try putting my spreads up before I fill them out. (I can’t show the filled-out ones because a few of them have student names in them, and I’m trying to keep everything FERPA-compliant.)

— 5 —

John Rutter. If you know the music of John Rutter (English choral composer) at all, you’ll appreciate this parody of his work called “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Rutter” by Pitchcraft. The best part: THEY’RE SINGING IT TO JOHN RUTTER!!!!!!!!!!!! (He loves it.)

— 6 —

/glares at Minion. I just went to go grab a couple of cartons of formula to feed the kid and prep tomorrow’s morning feed because doing it in the morning when I’m tired makes me want to cry. I get in the guest room (where we keep all the fun stuff) and notice a couple of cartons that had been on top of the boxes were on the floor. I picked them up and found them to be empty… WITH FANG MARKS IN THEM. My cat child had bitten them and they had leaked on the carpet.

I was not happy. Meanwhile, Mr. Black Paws is sprawled on the guest bed letting me know that he is magnificent and soft and cute. I told him that he is none of those things and is instead a VERY BAD CAT. (He is not sorry.)

— 7 —

Recommendation. If you are a bullet journal junkie, go check out Planning with Kay. She is delightful, features her house panther in her YouTube videos, and the community during her livestreams is amazing.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Back to Politics Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Where to find cloth masks. In honor of Washington starting to require cloth masks in public a week ago, here are a couple places where you can find them:

Etsy (this shop makes amazing ones)
Old Navy (they are my recommendation for a mainstream store)
Kohl’s
Macy’s
eShakti
Fred Meyer (they’re a Northwest big box store chain)
Target

Just put “masks” in the search bar. You’re welcome.

— 2 —

Yakima, Benton, and Franklin counties. All y’all in those three counties who are refusing to mask up are the source of many of the new COVID-19 cases. It’s the reason Governor Inslee has had to go visit you and make it a gross misdemeanor not to wear a mask in public in just your counties. I know you hate the governor, but your stupid partisan hatred is causing the rest of us to give up ICU and hospital beds to accommodate your patients. So, please grow the [insert word] up, and just wear a damn mask.

Snuggles,

The western half of the state who already pays for all of your services

— 3 —

/facepalms I think the Skagit County Chorale would like to have a word with these choir members who sang at a Pence event about how choirs can be superspreaders.

For anyone who doesn’t know, the Skagit County Chorale are local to me, and the choir’s cases are 10-20% of my county’s COVID-19 cases. The two women who died are connected to me through church friends.

— 4 —

Some beautiful music. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is our opening hymn for Sunday morning, and I found this beautiful version from the Spelman College Glee Club when I was searching for something to put my church’s Facebook page.

— 5 —

I can’t even with this… If you attempt to explain this away, you are a horrible human being and your voting privileges need to be revoked. Telling black people that they “need to learn about their history or go back to it” is racist as [insert expletive], and it shows that Trump doesn’t understand American history at all. The reason we want to rename places and take statues down is that the people did horrible things, and those things should not be glorified.

Also, if anyone is afraid that not having these statues will cause us to forget our history, I need to introduce you to an amazing thing called a “book”.

— 6 —

Weekend plans. Given the spike we’re having in COVID-19 cases right now in my area (which for us means that we’re up from no new cases for a week to 5+ new cases per day), a family gathering this weekend is OBVIOUSLY not happening. It will just be my household and we’ll have hot dogs for dinner on Saturday night. We’ll also see how much we get shelled by idiots playing with fireworks. (They are unfortunately legal on the 4th in my town during certain hours.) All the parades and events in my area are cancelled because the people in charge actually believe medical experts who are saying it’s a bad idea. (All those states who reopened early and have spikes in infection rates are proof of why the leadership needs to be listening.)

— 7 —

A sign of things to come. This makes two Republican candidates for governor who are having legal issues. (This is the other one.) I’m wondering who the GOP in Washington is going to try next, given that they seem to be attracting idiots.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.